6 Christmas tree mistakes to avoid making — our experts will save you festive regret

Are you wondering what Christmas tree mistakes to avoid making? Let our expert Christmas elves fill you in

An image of a Christmas tree next to a fireplace with red stockings hanging on it
(Image credit: Canva)

If you’re busy decorating, are these six Christmas tree mistakes to avoid making on your radar yet? Maybe last year you made some rather diabolical mistakes with your tree, and this year you’re determined to nail every aspect of the process. Well, we've got you covered.

From choosing your tree to decorating it and everything in between, our panel of experts, including two interior design specialists, reveal what the most common Christmas tree mistakes are, and how to give them a wide berth.

From knowing how to keep your Christmas tree alive to making the most of your space, we’ve rounded up all of the best expert-approved hacks.  

Christmas tree mistakes to avoid making this holiday season

Once you’ve taken the time to choose a Christmas tree and spent your hard-earned cash buying it, these are the mistakes to avoid with gusto. We'll let you in on all the secrets, from caring for your spruce, to decorating it like a pro.

1. Picking a tree that’s too big

A white home with a pink-hued Christmas tree

(Image credit: Canva)

It is seriously easy to make this mistake. You head to the store and see a glorious tree that you just know would look amazing in your living room, so you buy it. But in all the excitement of getting that magnificent tree to the checkout, you bypass thoughts on the practicality of it.

Steven Perez, Interior Designer, says, "Ensure the tree size is appropriate for your space. A tree that's too large can be cumbersome and may pose safety issues."

Tip: Before picking out a Christmas tree, take the time to measure the space you’re going to put it in. Even if you’re living in a more compact home, you’ll be pleased to know it is possible to fit a Christmas tree in a small space

Steven Perez
Steven Perez

Steven Perez is an Interior Designer based in Louisiana, and is passionate about home design and decor. 

2. Not trimming the trunk of your tree

It's easy to assume when you buy your Christmas tree that it’s immediately good to go. But don't overlook the important step of preparing your tree before you put it in its Christmas tree stand (I love this self-watering Christmas tree stand from Amazon and use year after year). 

Perez adds, "Failing to cut off a small section from the bottom of the tree’s trunk (using a saw like this handheld mini saw from Amazon) before setting it up can hinder water absorption, reducing the tree's lifespan."

3. Forgetting to water your tree

Image of a Christmas tree by a fireplace surrounded by gifts

(Image credit: Pottery Barn)

We get it, Christmas is the most wonderful (read busy) time of the year, which means forgetting to water your tree is all too easy. This is the one blooper you really want to avoid making. 

Steven Perez, Interior Designer, explains, "One of the most common mistakes is neglecting to water the tree regularly, leading to premature drying." 

Tip: If you want to make your Christmas tree last longer and prevent your Christmas tree from drying out, adding a little Christmas tree food to your tree stand (like this Miracle-Gro Christmas tree feed from Amazon) is definitely worth the effort.  

4. Not choosing a cohesive theme

Before you even think about starting to decorate your tree and your home, it’s essential you pick a theme for your Christmas decorations.

"It's not a necessity," Perez explains, "but setting a theme can enhance your tree's aesthetic appeal and bring a cohesive look across your holiday decor."

If you’re decorating your home for Christmas for the first time and are unsure where to start, there's plenty of can of theme inspiration for different styles, from traditional Christmas decorating ideas to more modern Christmas decoration styles

5. Over or under-decorating

An image of a Christmas tree in a kitchen

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Admittedly, some of us like to add more Christmas decorations than others, but it’s important to find the balance between an overly cluttered Christmas tree and a bare one. 

Perez says, "While decorating is a personal choice, overloading the tree with decorations can stress its branches and pose a safety risk."

So, whether you’re into more neutral Christmas decor or you prefer decorations that look luxurious, be mindful of how many decorations you’re adding to your Christmas tree. If you end up adding too many, it could topple over all too easily - not ideal if you have pets or kids. 

6. Ignoring your tree base

With all the glitz and glam of your tree and its sparkling decor, it's all too easy to forget the base. Leaving an unsightly stand visible might just ruin your vibe a bit. 

Improving the aesthetic appeal of your Christmas tree base will boost the overall appearance and give your tree maximum cause to shine.

Amelia Thompson, Interior Designer, says, "The base of the tree is often overlooked. A well-chosen tree skirt (like this seriously cute green and white design from Amazon) or stand (like this simple wooden Christmas tree stand from Amazon) can enhance the overall look of your tree."

Amelia Thompson
Amelia Thompson

Amelia Thompson is a passionate interior designer and Christmas enthusiast with more than 12 years of experience.


How can you make caring for your Christmas tree easier?

If you're worried about your Christmas tree drying out or dropping its needles, don't fret. Caring for your Christmas tree can be far easier than you would think. It's simply a case of protecting it from heat and being proactive with watering. Invest in a self-watering Christmas tree stand, like this self-watering tree holder from Amazon for the simplest fix.

With these handy tips, you should be able to avoid making the most common Christmas tree mistakes, guaranteeing your tree not only lasts for the whole festive season but never fails to shine.

A great starting point is to think about how to care for your Christmas tree and how to stop your Christmas tree from drying out, as well as taking into account how to best decorate your tree. 

Beth Mahoney
Freelance journalist

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a former staff writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy.